• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

This book offers an authoritative overview of child care policy and practice in the UK. It covers assessment and family support services, understanding child maltreatment and protection, the care of looked after children, including the contribution of adoption, foster, and residential care, services for those leaving care and barriers facing disabled children and their families.

The book reflects the complexity and contested nature of children's needs, rights, and interests and relationships between family and state. It analyzes relevant debates and research and highlights practice issues and dilemmas. Readers are also directed to sources of further information on topics they may wish to explore in more depth. At the end of each chapter, there is guidance for further reading, resources for practice and questions for discussion.

Intended Audience

The book is aimed at social work practitioners and professionals working with children and families as well as undergraduate students in childhood studies or social policy.

Looked after Children – The State as Parent
Looked after children – The state as parent

In this and the following chapter, the focus is on looked after children, the legal term adopted primarily for those living in public care. While Chapter 7 addresses the major settings within which children are ‘placed’, here we seek to review the main issues relating to their care.

It is important to note that the umbrella term looked after children hides great diversity in terms of care ‘careers’. Children become looked after for a variety of reasons and under different legal circumstances, while their time in care may range from days or weeks to almost an entire childhood. A majority will return to their birth families, while significant minorities will be ...

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